Page last updated at 15:56 GMT, Friday, 11 July 2008 16:56 UK

Health chief resigns in protest

Cancer protest in Truro
There have been protests at plans to move cancer services

The chairman of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals' NHS Trust has resigned in protest at plans to move some cancer services to Devon.

Peter Davies refused to endorse the transfer of upper gastro-intestinal cancer surgery to Plymouth.

In his resignation letter he said he had been asked by the regional health authority to publicly support the plans, something he was unable to do.

Councillors are due to meet to discuss the proposals next week.

The lack of understanding is of deep concern to me
Peter Davies

Mr Davies' letter said: "The apparent lack of understanding by the Primary Care Trust and Strategic Health Authority of the issues of rurality, peripherality and deprivation in moving specialist services out of Cornwall is of deep concern to me and the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust board.

"It is with regret that I have no alternative but to tender my resignation as Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust interim chairman with immediate effect."

Cornwall Primary Care Trust wants to move head and neck cancer treatments, upper gastro-intestinal surgery and complex gynaecological cancer services from the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro to Derriford hospital in Plymouth.

'Best care'

It claims it could increase the life expectancy of patients.

But protesters say that if surgery is transferred elsewhere, it would mean some patients and relatives would have to travel hundreds of miles.

Ann James, chief executive of the Primary Care Trust, said: "Our aim is to develop services locally wherever possible based on the best clinical advice.

"However... the PCT has a duty to provide patients with the best possible care.

"In this particular case there is unequivocal clinical guidance that underlines the need for change."

Mr Davies had been chairman for just over a year.

John Mills, the Royal Cornwall's vice chairman, will now take over from him.


SEE ALSO
Surgery survival better in Devon
21 Apr 08 |  Cornwall
Call for cancer surgery rethink
21 Mar 08 |  Cornwall

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